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B Lab launches investigation into Havas following Shell win

B Lab launches investigation into Havas following Shell win

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B Lab, which certifies businesses a score based on their social and environmental credentials, is launching a formal investigation into advertising agency Havas due to its work with oil and gas company Shell. 

In a LinkedIn post, Clean Creatives revealed that it requested a review of the advertising and public relations company's B Corp status three months ago when it signed new contracts with Shell. The request was supported by 26 other communications and advertising agencies. 

Don't miss: Fossil fuel contracts: How can agencies balance revenue with climate integrity?

According to Clean Creatives, B Lab Global said in an email that it had conducted an initial review and had determined that the allegations fall within the parameters of B Lab's public complaint process. 

The main allegations and concerns that will be investigated, according to an email seen by Clean Creatives, are whether the addition of new clients in controversial industries impacts Havas' compliance with limits on such clients and whether there are indications of possible inaccuracies or misrepresentations in the statements made by the company during the certification process.

In addition, B Lab Global will reportedly investigate if there are possible breaches of the B Corp community core values and address additional allegations or issues that may arise throughout the investigation process. 

Clean Creatives said that Havas' decision to make its B Corps a part of Shell's misleading marketing is a threat to the integrity and brand of the B Corp movement. 

"Havas' decision to make its B Corps a part of Shell's misleading marketing is a clear threat to the integrity and brand of the B Corp movement. B Corps should not be producing marketing and PR for the world's biggest polluters, and we are grateful to B Lab for continuing this investigation so that their many members who support serious climate action can be heard," said Clean Creatives executive director Duncan Meisel when MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out. 

Clean Creatives added that the outcome of the investigation could lead to Havas' B Corp certification being revoked, suspended or upheld. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to all relevant parties for more information. 

In May 2023, Clean Creatives called for agencies not to work or pitch for Shell's business when it called for a pitch. However, it was revealed in September 2023 that Havas was appointed to be its new global strategic media buying agency. 

"At Havas, we are invested in supporting companies through their growth and transformation journeys," Havas told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE at the time. 

"We are pleased to have been appointed Shell’s global strategic media buying agency and look forward to working with the Shell team to ensure consumers are better informed about the range of energy solutions it is providing today and investing in for the future,” it said last year. 

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Planning for a sustainability campaign this Earth Day? Here's how to not fall into the trap of greenwashing 

Havas Immerse Malaysia rebrands, expands leadership team 

Havas acquires Klareco Communications to strengthen global strategic comms advisory arm 

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